PCSO to invite BIR experts to help justify 20% gaming taxes

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan said on Monday that they will be inviting experts from the Bureau of Internal Revenue to help them justify the 20 percent taxes in connection with the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN) law for the benefit of the gaming public.

Under the much-talked about TRAIN law, all PCSO prizes are taxed with 20 percent starting from the amount of P10,000 and above that already implemented last month.

“Nung una nga 10 percent. Hindi pa namin napag-uusapan ng husto ‘yung tax nito. We are inviting experts from the BIR on how we will justify the taxes,” Balutan said.

On Friday, two lucky bettors won and shared the whopping P331,971,464 jackpot in the PCSO’s Ultra Lotto 6/58 draw. The winners are now subject to the new tax law.

“Wala na tayong magawa, batas na ‘yan. Ang problema lang ma-dissuade ang betting public na hindi na tumaya. Pero ang katwiran ng ating mga mambabatas, windfall ‘yan. Kung nanalo ka ng P100 million ibigay mo na sa gobyerno ‘yung P20,000,000 masaya ka pa rin,” Balutan said.

While the agency is still awaiting the betting public’s reaction to the new tax law, Balutan explained the important thing is that the taxes will automatically go to the charity fund, which will be given out to the needy.

Balutan believes that the betting public has renewed its confidence to the new leadership of PCSO as evidenced by the increasing revenues.

For instance, the January sales of the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) posted P1.87 billion from P1.7 billion last December 2017, a 103.96 percent increase from the sales of the same month last year.

“Ito ‘yung magandang nangyayari ngayon, the people are continuously patronizing PCSO’s gaming such as Lotto, Keno, Suertes, and STL. Of course, natutuwa tayo kapag maraming pondo na nakakalap ang PCSO, that means malaki din ang maitutulong natin sa ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan ng serbisyong medikal,” Balutan said.

He assured the public that the agency will continue its efforts to increase the revenues.

“‘Yun ang magandang signal, may confidence pa rin ang ating mga kababayan na tumaya at tangkilikin ang laro ng PCSO. We will continue these efforts na mapalaki pa ang ingreso hindi lang sa STL but also Lotto,” said Balutan.

The retired Marine general spoke before the members of the press shortly after the Monday flag raising ceremony after he was given recognition by the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) for the agency’s contributions during the Marawi seige.

“The recognition given, not just necessarily to me, but the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) by the Philippine Marine Corps is very timely considering PCSO is in the controversial period,” Balutan said.

“I’m proud na sa ganitong pagkakataon, I’m back sa Marine Corps where I belong. I spent more than 37 years here, I spent most of my adult life dito sa Philippine Marine Corps. Nakakalaki ng puso na binigyan tayo ng rare opportunity and accolade by no less than my Marine Corps,” he added.

PCSO has a yearly calamity fund of P100 million approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for natural and man-made disasters.

Early this year, Balutan gave P5 million to Palawan for the victims of the recent typhoon “Vinta” that killed dozens of residents in the southern towns of province.

Just recently, PCSO gave P35 million for tens of thousands of evacuees caused by the Mayon eruption in Albay.

Last year, the agency also donated P6 million to Biliran Province for the victims of typhoon Urduja; P2.5 million to Davao City; P1 million to Davao del Norte; P500,000 to Tagum City; P200,000 to Davao Occidental; P600,000 to Davao Oriental; and P600,000 to Compostela Valley for typhoon Vinta victims, and P5 million to Marawi City victims.

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